Wednesday, 7 June 2017

How to streamline your hiring process - 12 Top Tips - Staff Retention Series

This is a guest post by Alina Cooper from FitLinks, see below for more details.

Everyone is guilty of over-complicating things. Or worse still, living with processes without really understanding why we’re doing it. Surely in this age, we should be doing things faster, easier and more directly?

Recruitment is no exception. In today's market attracting and retaining top talent is challenging. Be aware that most candidates will apply for multiple jobs simultaneously. In fact, a staggering 47% of declined offers in 2015 were due to candidates accepting other jobs.

With this in mind it's essential to make your company stand out from the crowd and have a streamlined and professional recruitment process.
This starts with the job description and then continues throughout every step of the recruitment process.

A few reasons why you should streamline the recruitment process:
  • Attract top talent
  • Hire the right candidate
  • Create a professional and consistent experience
  • Save time
  • Save money
  • Don't lose out to the competition
With candidates in control and most companies dealing with increased competition and reduced resource, new approaches that “treat candidates like customers” are increasingly important.

Here are our top tips to shake up your recruitment:

1.    Ask yourself ‘What’s my objective?’
What do you want to achieve in your recruitment process?
What does your ideal candidate look like?
How are you going to engage with them?

2.    Embrace Technology
Gone are the days of printing endless CV's and sifting through paperwork.
It’s time to streamline your recruitment and save time and money!
  • Posting jobs
  • Managing the recruitment funnel
  • Managing candidate profiles
  • Create email templates
  • Interview scheduling tools
  • Reporting

3.    Create a Recruitment Plan
Stop being reactive and start planning ahead.
Start by looking at what you currently do and ask yourself if it's relevant and helps you to achieve your objective. You need a simple but effective plan to work from, where every step and action, or technology adds value and takes you closer to your end goal.
Take time to identify the key recruitment stages required for each and every position within your company. Remember the recruitment process and the type of candidate that will apply for a Personal Trainer role is probably very different to that of a Sales person or an Accountant.

4.    Forecasting your Recruitment Needs
Understanding your recruitment funnel enables you to plan ahead by establishing key data such as time to hire, applicants to hire and cost per hire. Avoid recruiting out of desperation, you will always regret it.

5.    Developing a Recruitment Toolkit
A recruitment toolkit is key to creating a consistent on brand recruitment process across your business. It also helps your employees save time and subsequently money when recruiting.
As a minimum, your toolkit should include:
  • A template job description for every role
  • A document outlining the recruitment process for every role
  • Interview questions for every role
If your employees are also responsible for hiring and onboarding candidates then we recommend you also include the following in your toolkit:
  • Offer letter template
  • New starter forms
  • Employment contracts for every role
  • Company handbook

6.    Advertising
In a recent survey recruiters reported that it takes an average of 52 days to fill an open position .
With this in mind, it is essential to plan ahead and advertise for the role as early as possible.

7.    Screening Applications
Do your employees know what to look for when screening an application? Often the answer is no. Spend time training your recruitment team on what to look for when reviewing an application. This will be time well spent as it will reduce the amount of wasted time interviewing and help you hire the right candidate.

8.    Communicating with candidates
It may sound like common sense but effective communication with candidates is key. This starts from the job advert and continues right the way through the recruitment process. By creating a consistent and on brand process across your sites you will not only be portraying your company in the best possible light but also increasing your likelihood of hiring top talent. Our Tips:
  • Screen all applicants as they come in and respond with 48 hours. Top talent will be snapped up quickly so don't wait until the closing date, you'll regret it!
  • Respond to all applicants, not just those that have been successful. 86% of candidates surveyed stated that not receiving any contact from a company left them with a negative impression of the brand. This does not need to be a timely exercise and using the FitLinks Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can be done at the click of a button.
  • Create a library of email templates that correlate to each stage of the recruitment process. To include, Invite to Interview, Rejection, Offer, Onboarding 
  • Once you have hired a candidate make sure you stay in contact with them throughout their notice period. This is the perfect time to collect all of the relevant information you need along with immersing them in your brand and culture.

9.    Interviewing
Spend time creating a best practice guide for interviews and a set of questions for each and every role. If your people really are the lifeblood of your business then invest time in upskilling them so they can find the right people to join the team.
Tips for conducting a great interview:
  • Start Slow - Build Rapport
  • Coax information
  • Ask Open Questions
  • Use Follow Up Questions
  • Avoid Cliche Questions
  • Ask for Examples

10.    On-boarding
This is the process of collating all of their key information required to set them up as a new starter, from eligibility to work through to references. The easier this process is for both you and the candidate the better. Once again, an online applicant tracking system can usually do all of this for you, including automated reference checking and integrating with Payroll and HR Systems.

11.    Induction
Spend time planning their induction to ensure they receive all the training and support they need to do their job. It's also important to make them feel part of the team straight away. Schedule time for them to get to know the team, in particular those they will be working with on a regular basis.
The small details also make a big difference. Make sure their uniform, business cards, computer, phone etc are all ready for them on the first day. If they are entitled to any benefits these should also be set up on day 1.

12.    Train and Coach
To change behaviours and adopt a new, efficient recruitment process takes time, patience and focus. Don’t lose sight of why you’re doing this – better efficiencies and productivity.

On average in the UK it costs businesses £5,433 in logistical costs to recruit a new employee, with a total cost estimated at £30,614 including the cost of lost output and logistical costs.

Alina Cooper is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of FitLinks, working to address the challenges of recruiting good staff in within the health and fitness sector. Fitlinks provides an innovative, intuitive online job board, a talent matching service, an applicant tracking system, and dedicated account management. Find out more at

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